If you’re looking for inspiration for healthy family meals on a budget, here are some great meal planning ideas that will make your shopping bill cheaper, reduce waste and free up some meal-prep time too.
Not a new idea, but one that people don’t often get round to doing. Set aside some time one evening or over a weekend and cook up a few dishes – make a bolognaise, casserole, chilli, lasagne or any other of your favourite dishes that you’re able to freeze. All you’ll need to do then is decide which one you’re having for that day and it’s ready for you to simply defrost and cook.
Use your slow cooker
This is a great way to eliminate the temptation for takeaways or junk food at the end of a hard day – but does require some thought, prep and time. You can make pretty much anything in a slow cooker, you just need to pop all your ingredients into the cooker in the morning (or even the night before depending on what you’re making), pop it on and you should have a lovely dinner ready for when you want to serve it.
If you open your fridge to find a few bits of fruit or some veg that isn’t enough to make a meal with, use them to make soups or smoothies instead of throwing them away. You can make delicious soups with all kinds of veg and this makes a perfect lunch now the weather is getting colder. This is also ideal for freezing for later if you’ve got too many fresh leftovers to use at once. Add some yoghurt or juice to some chopped up fruit and blend it together to enjoy a healthy smoothie.
If you take some time to make a weekly meal plan, you’ll save money and time. Popping into a local shop each day will soon add pounds to your grocery bill and if you know what you’re going to cook each night then it’ll save you time deciding or thinking of recipes. Mix up the meals from week to week so it doesn’t become boring.
If you do your food shopping online you’re less likely to impulse buy as it doesn’t give you the same option of browsing as a visit to the supermarket does. Look out for special offers and deals that most online shops offer.